46 tube - Could I live with 1.25 watts?

I feel like I have read every post on the internet and every forum about the 46 tube. Lots of them, from what seem to be professional audiophiles, and HUGE elaborate horn systems are happily using them on part of their system. I'm thinking of investing, time, money, effort into making a 46 tube amp my main daily driver. I have one now that is kind of multi purpose amp, not optimized for the 46. I would have one that only does one thing well.... 1.25 watts. I want it to be used for a full range speaker, with the help of a subwoofer swarm from Audiokinessis. Has anyone else done it? Could I live with that? Right now my speakers are Altec Valencia, (97db) lii audio crystal 10 (99dbs) And Klipsch Belle (104). The past couple weeks I have been using it on the Altec and Lii, and I love it. Questioning and challenging that love, I try my 45s/2a3s to see if a couple watts makes a difference. Nothing is jumping out at me, like OMG this is so much better. Maybe there is better bass control but is it masked by my swarm? I listen mostly in the evening, averaging around the 75db. If it means anything my Active pre amp is only around the 1-3 o'clock position, the ideal location according to the builder.

This new interest in the 46 has just recently become an obsession, the same time I set up my Valencia with the new crossovers, and the same time I have completely immersed myself in jazz. Mostly pre 1966 is what I favoring. I'm a rock and roll kid at heart so completely loving a new genre is mind blowing. I sit on the edge of my seat, so excited AND lean back relaxed, its like a psychedlic experience. It's inspired my love for music, more profound than just getting into vinyl a year ago.

So maybe I'm riding the pink cloud of my recent experiences and I'll eventually realize that I need more than 1.25 watts?

thanks for your thoughts!
 

Redboy

Knobophobe
Well... I have been living with the awesome power and sound of the single-ended Type 46 for over six years, ever since I finished these...



 

Redboy

Knobophobe
I can't quite tell you what inspired me to build them, except that at the time very few people were even aware of the Type 46. However, the reports were good. Don Garber said the 46 "stopped him in his tracks" or something to that effect. Thomas Mayer had high praise, and a couple of people whose ears I trust said similarly tantalizing things.

It's an amazing little tube with a sound that belies its tiny output. It hasn't stopped me in my tracks exactly, because too much of this adventure for me is about the journey and not the destination. But I have rather compulsively hoarded the tube whenever I find them.

A watt of power is more than most people think; with efficient speakers (like your Valencias) and reasonable volume requirements it is probably more than enough.
 
thanks man! I appreciate you sharing. I know you had experience using them but I was sure of the extent of it.
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
i have been running 46s with my Altec 604s and a TVC preamp and have more than enough power (smallish room). of course i'm using helper woofers with their own amp. but even without the helper woofers, i get a lot of volume out of the 604s. right now i'm using 45s and the preamp is turned only a 1/4 of the way.

i found my darling 1626 amp (0.75 wpc) was enough to run the altecs.
 
I have had a pair of 46 mono amps for 12 years or so, and they are indeed far more powerful subjectively than 1.25 watts suggests. For a while I even used them on my 90db Spendors. Ultimately I always end up returning to push-pull amps for their greater power and control, but this is clearly a personal choice each listener has to make.

I posted a schematic of my design somewhere on the Haven. It’s a very simple two-stage with a 417a IT coupled to the 46, and like Redboy I use Electra-Print partial silver OPTs.
 
46 amps, high efficiency speakers and Jazz are a wonderful combination, IMO.

I feel fortunate to have been able to experience Redboy’s 46 amps with my old Stephens coaxials (~100 + db sensitivity) a while back. They had plenty of power and sounded wonderful. I normally use SE 2a3 or SEP 6V6 and honestly, I didn’t feel there was any lack of power with the 46 amps. I wouldn’t shy away from a 46 tube amp/amps with speakers as efficient as yours, especially with Jazz.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
Gary Kaufman got interested in the 46 mostly because, at least at the time (nearly 20 years ago, IIRC) globe 46s were still inexpensive and easy to find. :) He had the idea of sort of a 46 bake-off and "we" made a group buy of ElectraPrint (again, IIRC) transformers. Gary built a "ragtop" (convertible) amp that, with a little reconfiguring, could run 45, 46, or 300B outputs. Jamie Melhuish (whom some of you may remember from the Single Driver Website & Forum) built a direct-coupled 46 amp -- and I... well... I never managed to get past collecting most of the parts. :confused: :redface: :rolleyes:

BUT I did get to listen extensively to the other two :) and they were very, very, very nice.

Can you live with SE 46? Well, I have no idea! :) It's gonna depend on the room, the loudspeakers, the kind of music you like, the volume levels you like to listen to -- and (or maybe I should say but), most of all (IMO), what your expectations are! I used a pair of AR-3s with a Maggotbox Magnavox PP EL84 console amplifier in the basement of our MA house for years and was very happy with the pairing. No one in his/her/their right mind would consider that a reasonable combination, but to me it sounded fine for what I used it for and what I expected of it.

Conversely, I found Steve Deckert's little "Zen" SE-84B stereo single-ended EL84 pseudo-SET amp (somewhere in the 1 to 2 wpc neighborhood) to be incapable of delivering "little girl with guitar" music (as Tom Brennan was once wont to say) at moderate volumes in a large-ish room with a pair of Klipsch Cornwalls. It would get unpleasantly strained sounding real fast.

So... umm... I dunno.

Gary's "ragtop":

1613686318577.png

Jamie Melhuish's Ultrapath 46 amp (thanks to the Wayback Machine!)

1613686697624.png
Pics and P/S design can (still) be found at Index of /gkaufman/images
the gathering from which the photo above comes may be found via

That said -- if you didn't like it as a full-range amp, it should make a bitchen treble amp in a bi or multi-amp, active XO setting -- and that kinda thing is easier than ever to set up nowadays! :)


EDIT: June, 2003. Jeepers. That was seventeen-and-a-half years ago.

Some of the "Northern New England Vacuum Tube Hifi Gurus" of whom I speak may be observed in the photos in that Wayback Machine capture. On the other hand, I am in many of them, too! :confused: I sure looked a lot younger in 2003 -- but, on the bright side, I am substantially thinner now... so it could be worse, I guess.

1613687109489.png
 
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Thanks for your input everyone, I definitely have seen a lot of your posts before helping me get to this point. I'm going to keep experimenting.
 
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How did I miss this thread? In March 2009 I built this 46 amp. Amps have come and gone, but this is still the amp I use every day.

A8D2823E-4E15-4391-A1B9-FBB34EDD8B7F.jpeg
Oh, and I have used the same tubes the whole time. Actually a 417A or two and an 0D3 have died along the way, but the 1930’s tubes outlast them all :)

6670028E-F917-4CB1-8D6E-5B510E6EBBF7.jpegHere the amps are seen driving my work-in-progress speakers. These are open baffle 18” alnico woofer with a TAD 2001. These with the 46 amp produce the best bass I’ve had...so yes, 1.25 watts can be enough!
 
Well this seems like a good opportunity to make my 1st post on this site.
By way of intro I'm an oldster who started in audio before there was solid state.

So I've burned my fingers and been the recipient of 'The Tingle' (300vdc+) with enough instances to fully appreciate the full range of The Tube experience. :chin:cool:

But to the point, and granted this doesn't fully apply because I'm not using speakers but majorly tweaked HD800 headphones all driven by a ground pounding, thunderous, 0.75w/ch out of a custom 71A amp.

So some 'flea' powered amps can excel in exquisite detail delivery and really surprise you with a compelling musical experience.

Just say'n is all.

JJ
 

240sx4u

Technically It's LexusGuy
I'm pretty sure I could live with that power as well. It'd be fun to try a SET amp out one of these days. I have had a decware amp briefly but that was on loan. It worked really well at low/moderate volumes with my inefficient speakers at the time. That was a real eye opener.
 

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member
Well this seems like a good opportunity to make my 1st post on this site.
By way of intro I'm an oldster who started in audio before there was solid state.

So I've burned my fingers and been the recipient of 'The Tingle' (300vdc+) with enough instances to fully appreciate the full range of The Tube experience. :chin:cool:

But to the point, and granted this doesn't fully apply because I'm not using speakers but majorly tweaked HD800 headphones all driven by a ground pounding, thunderous, 0.75w/ch out of a custom 71A amp.

So some 'flea' powered amps can excel in exquisite detail delivery and really surprise you with a compelling musical experience.

Just say'n is all.

JJ
Welcome aboard bud!
 
Welcome aboard bud!
Thanks, I look forward to perusing this site more in depth to get a handle on the core grasp of audio from the participants here.

A friend pointed this site out to me and the more I peered into the innerds, the more rabbit holes there were to jump down. :cool:

I'm a guy who has 'earned' the title "He who says Bhaaa! Warranties are made to be violated.', especially if there is a 'better' way…
Like when I yanked out all of the SMPS supplies from my AOIP (Audio Over IP) digital audio feed components, and replaced them with LPS supplies… :chin:Deal

JJ:)
 
I'm pretty sure I could live with that power as well. It'd be fun to try a SET amp out one of these days. I have had a decware amp briefly but that was on loan. It worked really well at low/moderate volumes with my inefficient speakers at the time. That was a real eye opener.
Yeah these little amps can really surprise you and in ways that you wouldn't suspect.
My advantage is I'm driving a fixed 35Ω and a 3-600Ω load, in parallel from the 32Ω secondary, and not a 4-8-16Ω load, so the current demands are minuscule. :chin

Still these amps can drive tweeters and even some midrange drivers rather well.
And even if used to drive some 103+dB efficient full range speakers, they would surprise most folks. :Deal

No they won't reach rock&roll nor even full orchestral spl's, but then that really isn't a realistic expectation in the first place.
But what they can deliver, if all is dialed in, can be be typified by my use of SDSG (SuperDuperSuperGlue) where my HP's are seemingly glued to my head, as in I simply can't take them off because the music grabs and captivates me so.

Just like I like… :cool:

JJ:)
 

billfort

Administrator
Staff member
Ok, a contrary opinion from a contrarian. :)

I have not heard a 46 amp, but own and LOVE a 45 capable amp - which should have around the same 1.5w of output power. I use it on 100db sensitive Altec 604s and even rely on separate powered helper woofers for the low bass, so when all put in a normal sized listening room of 13 x 21, think I'm giving that little amp as good a chance as I can to do it's thing - short of using even more efficient all horn speakers that just aren't appropriate for my small room (IMO).

With some switch selectable internal changes, that same 45 amp can use 2A3s (3w?), and I've been through many 300B (6w?) amps, so have 100's of hours of comparison in between these 3 approaches, or at least the implementations of them I've had in my system. Lots of time to draw conclusions and almost all of these amps have sounded 'good', so it's been a joy trying to decide which best suits me.

And "me" is the key; this is SO personal with so many variables like speakers (!!!), room, musical preferences, usual listening level, etc. that only you can make the call if 1.5w is enough.

The 45 is my all time favourite tube so far, especially with Jazz, some Americana and Blues. With the right recording; mesmerising presence, flesh and blood in the room, real full-scale instruments playing in interesting acoustic spaces that erase the room walls - the "psychedelic...pink cloud" Guf speaks of. On a regular basis, I'll flip the amp, set it for 45s and pop in my favourite pair (RCA globe 245) to get lost for a while. I love what this tube can do.

But for me, 1.5w is not enough.

My musical tastes are all over the place, and eventually I'll want to listen to something that makes the little 45s sound strained, soft and closed in, losing their extension & magic. The pink cloud starts to fade and darken, and it's time for the change back to my sweet-spot - the 2A3. With good tubes (I really like RCA bi-plates and even JJs), the 2A3 amp setup gets very close to the 45 with much of the technicolor trip, along with the balls (sure, 3w of balls... :D) to better handle some Blues, Rock or big scale orchestral. This is the perfect daily-driver for me and I don't even think about 45s that much.

And now that I've said that, I think I need a hit from the 245s today. :)
 
Ok, a contrary opinion from a contrarian. :)

I have not heard a 46 amp, but own and LOVE a 45 capable amp - which should have around the same 1.5w of output power. I use it on 100db sensitive Altec 604s and even rely on separate powered helper woofers for the low bass, so when all put in a normal sized listening room of 13 x 21, think I'm giving that little amp as good a chance as I can to do it's thing - short of using even more efficient all horn speakers that just aren't appropriate for my small room (IMO).

With some switch selectable internal changes, that same 45 amp can use 2A3s (3w?), and I've been through many 300B (6w?) amps, so have 100's of hours of comparison in between these 3 approaches, or at least the implementations of them I've had in my system. Lots of time to draw conclusions and almost all of these amps have sounded 'good', so it's been a joy trying to decide which best suits me.

And "me" is the key; this is SO personal with so many variables like speakers (!!!), room, musical preferences, usual listening level, etc. that only you can make the call if 1.5w is enough.

The 45 is my all time favourite tube so far, especially with Jazz, some Americana and Blues. With the right recording; mesmerising presence, flesh and blood in the room, real full-scale instruments playing in interesting acoustic spaces that erase the room walls - the "psychedelic...pink cloud" Guf speaks of. On a regular basis, I'll flip the amp, set it for 45s and pop in my favourite pair (RCA globe 245) to get lost for a while. I love what this tube can do.

But for me, 1.5w is not enough.

My musical tastes are all over the place, and eventually I'll want to listen to something that makes the little 45s sound strained, soft and closed in, losing their extension & magic. The pink cloud starts to fade and darken, and it's time for the change back to my sweet-spot - the 2A3. With good tubes (I really like RCA bi-plates and even JJs), the 2A3 amp setup gets very close to the 45 with much of the technicolor trip, along with the balls (sure, 3w of balls... :D) to better handle some Blues, Rock or big scale orchestral. This is the perfect daily-driver for me and I don't even think about 45s that much.

And now that I've said that, I think I need a hit from the 245s today. :)
Amazing post. Thanks🙏🏼
 
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